With sincerity written all over his face, the young man standing behind the glass said, “Would you like the Senior Discount?”
I am sure he wasn’t speaking to me, since, I was standing behind my wife when he mistakingly said that. Confession time — I chuckled when I heard him.
Pretending outrage, I asked him, “Do we look OLD enough to get the Senior Discount?”
Embarrassment quickly exchanged the look of sincerity as his cheeks quickly reddened. Apologetically, He said, “If I am not sure of a customer’s age, I ask them. Many Seniors don’t know they can get a discount.”
I assured him that I was kidding and was not offended.
Kathy, my wife, went with the flow. She said, “Sure! How much is the discount and what is the age limit?”
The young man replied, “I think the age is sixty.”
Darn, we missed out on the discount by two years. At Denny’s Restaurant, the Senior Discount is 55 which I have availed a time or two.
Ironically, we were purchasing tickets to see the new Clint Eastwood movie, The Mule. The Mule is about a senior man — around ninety — Earl Stone played by Eastwood. Broke, losing his home, estranged from his family, Stone follows a lead from a young man he met at his granddaughter’s wedding and decides to take a job delivering packages. Stone is warned to never look in the bag. After he is in deep, he discovers he is transporting drugs for a prominent Mexican drug cartel.
One of the endearing qualities of the character Earl Stone is his youthfulness.
Getting old is inevitable. As a state of mind, being old is not. The inner being, the real you, is ageless.
Recently, I saw a lifestyle piece about Ida Keeling, a woman over 100 years old, who competes and has set records for her age group in the the100-meter race. The interviewer asked her what the secret to her longevity and unusual physical ability for her age. She said, “Keep moving.” She had an exercise routine that she followed every day.
Some seniors are vibrant and full of life. Some younger people are merely existing moving towards death. I was one of them at one point in my thirties and forties. Stressed out, poor health, and horrible outlook. Not that I was suicidal, but I was a dead man walking. Honestly, age is a mindset.
When we are in connection with our deeper being, that connection significantly affects how we view life. My overall outlook is more positive than it once was.
I am not talking about blind optimism that denies the reality of pain and tragedy. Life is not all roses and sunshine. Thorns and clouds are a genuine part of life. Tears are the companion of smiles.
People who live in this type of denial — positive only living — are usually disconnected from the rest of the world. They become critical of the rest of us who have not yet ascended to their state of self-denial.
Even with a healthy respect for tragedy one can have an overall positive outlook on life.
Call the deeper being what you will — the higher self, the true self, the inner (wo)man, the soul, our spirit, a state of consciousness, et cetera — the deeper being is impossible to label or explain.
Call me crazy, but I have sensed that there is a deeper awareness, a deeper being that is not physical that is who I am. I discovered this aspect of my fundamental nature during meditation when I became the observer of my thoughts.
From my own experience, Practicing yoga and meditation has shaved some years off and given me a new outlook in life. I feel younger than fifty-eight.
Over the last two years, I have incorporated light weights and kettlebells into my practice. Also, I walk and enjoy hiking.
The meditation, healthy diet and exercise contribute to a healthy outlook.
Do I ever have aches, pains, and stiffness related to aging?
Do I sense gravity pulling on this body?
Of course, this is the nature of physical life and death.
Some mornings I wake up feeling like I ran a marathon. After coffee, I breathe through the stiffness, moving slowly to warm and awaken my aging body. As the muscles, joints, and bones respond, I turn up the heat with a Vinyasa flow. By the end of my physical practice, the stiffness is usually gone. I feel invigorated. I end my physical practice with a time of meditation that brings who I am into perspective.
I was not always like this. For years, I was a stressed-out-mess and struggled with depression. I existed instead of lived. Obese, type two diabetes, and all the other health indicators such as high cholesterol, hypertension, I was hastening my trip to the grave.
After a trip to the Heart Pavillion for a heart catheterization, I received a window of opportunity. Unlike so many others whose next stop is open heart surgery, or stints, I did not have any blockages YET!
It took me several months to change my course of action. I had to change my mindset and gain the resolve needed to turn my life around.
Two months before my fiftieth birthday, I made the turn.
Am I living life or just existing? Either way, you end this life at the same place, the grave. Go gracefully filled with life or go heavily filled with despair, living is all in a mindset.
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